FOREWORD Recent polls of public interest and opinion in Canada show that, of the purely Canadian topics discussed, there are perhaps half a dozen of continuing, lively interest to all Canadians. They in- clude full employment, housing, food and clothing supplies, and social welfare and security plans — education, health, and so on. Essential parts of all these programs are the actual buildings in which Cana- dians live, work, learn, play, and meet their fellow citizens. Among the groups of Canadian workers on whose products the success of these programs depends, one important group is therefore the construction industry, or as some would say, the building trades. Let's have a look at the problems facing Cana- dian builders. Whatever occupations we mean to resume or enter, there can be no Canadians whose handiwork will be more in evidence all about us. These are the September people whose business it is to keep us 1945 warm and dry. WHAT ABOUT THE BUILDERS ? One of the busiest fields of activity in the next few years in Canada will be the construction industry. Wherever we are going to live in Civvy Street, the achievements of the men with the steam shovels, trowels and spirit levels will affect our well-being. How many BUILDERS Of of them are there? What are they able to do? What "CIVVY STREET unable to do? How do they go about their jobs? What kinds of training do they get? What is their place in the whole reconstruction effort? What lies ahead for the builders? How very important the building industry is to all Canadians may be seen from the attention that it is getting in the press, on the radio, and from those re- sponsible for the day-to-day administration of our re- construction plans. Nearly every page of the White Paper on Employ- ment and Income contains references to construction* Of the six main directions in which post-war job- seekers are expected to move, four involve building and building supplies; they are: (a) Rural and urban housing. (b) Rehabilitation of devastated lands. (c) Reconversion and improvement of industry. (d) Better use of primary resources. Recently, a joint statement by the Ministers of Finance, Reconstruction and Labour declared: "It is the Government's intention to see that new homes to the required number will be made available to veterans either by government action or private building." The proposals of the Government of Canada to the provincial governments, presented to them during the Reconstruction Conference in August, also refer re- IMPORTANCE OF peatedly to the importance of private and public build- CONSTRUCTION ing — houses, factories, towns and facilities for the de- velopment of our human and natural resources. 1 THE BUILDING FORCE WHAT IS "CONSTRUC- TION"? OLD METHODS SOME BUILDING HISTORY MODERN IMPROVEMENTS TWO GROUPS OF WORKERS What do we mean: Construction Force? A structure is something fixed in position by man. Thus 'construction' is the putting-together of all kinds of stationary man-made objects, including tunnels, quay walls and radio masts, as well as houses. While some building is done by people engaged in other occupations — as when a miner shores up a stope, or a gardener builds a wood shed — most of Canada's building is done by building tradesmen, who spend their working lives moving from one building site to another. There was a time when all the people connected with building worked on the site. Three hundred years ago, when Champlain ordered his 'Habitation' near Port Royal, the whole job was done right there. The work- men prepared all their materials within walking distance of the spot chosen for the building. The important difference between that house and one built in Nova Scotia in 1945 is not in the general appearance, nor in the primary crafts employed in put- ting it together. It is only in such assembly details as the wire nails that the basic house of today is very dif- ferent from its first ancestor in Canada. The big change that has taken place in building since the white man came to America is that nowadays more than half the preparatory work is done away from the site. A whole series of trades are busy preparing the components to be assembled by on-site workers. The process of building thus involves men on-the- site; men fashioning and supplying materials specifically for building purposes; and men extracting raw mater- ials, some of which will find their way into structures. We can't label all these people as the Construction Force. Some will call themselves workers in transpor- tation or mining. The one group we can count with certainty are those whose jobs are on construction sites. How big is the Construction Force? How many jobs on actual building sites are there in Canada? The Census people say there are 125,000 to 130,000 — about one Canadian in every ninety, or about one in every forty of the Canadian working force. However, there are a good many other Canadians who depend directly on construction for a living, even though they are not members of the Construction Force as we have defined it. The statisticians cannot make a pat answer as to how many people look to building activity for their pay, but they estimate that their strength is at least as great as the R.C.A.F. was at its peak: a little over 200,000. The size of the Construction Force varies a good deal with the amount of work for it to do. Every year sees rush periods and slack periods, as wet and cold weather prevents many on-site workers from carrying on. In the rush periods, thousands of farmers and WORKING FORCE 1934 CONSTRUCTION jc ' jo * Eac h Symbol Represents X^ &m> A 20,000 Persons 1938 fat fat XV XV fa 1941 fat fat fat fat fat fat fa ALL GAINFULLY OCCUPIED (ESTIMATE) 1934 yP^— i* )Jt^ r |4f* Eacn Symbol Represents F?U-J nJL-J OU • 1,000,000 Persons 1938 y^T y^=r ythi fe 1941 nL— J oU-J oL-J oL—J o THE NUMBER EMPLOYED HOW LONG EACH YEAR? WHAT THEY CONTRIBUTE THEIR REWARDS others may join the building force. Taking all these things into account, the experts reckon that Canadian construction workers did about 170,000 man-years of work in 1940. How much work does the Building Force turn out? There are several ways of measuring the contribu- tion made to our well being by the construction work- ers. We can rate their output and wages alongside those in other areas of production. This is estimated for three years — poor, average and peak — in the graph below. Do the Builders get their share of the Wages? Building craftsmen's incomes are not high, even though they receive fairly good hourly wages. The reason has been that they are unable to earn at all for a good part of almost every year. Time is lost after one job is finished and before the next begins, or because of the weather. The construction industry also fluctuates from year to year, more than most others. Even in 1929, the average building worker went seven weeks without pay. During the war the builders have enjoyed steadi- ness of employment almost comparable with that in other occupations. THE BUILDERS' SHARE OUTPUT O CONSTRUCTION • ALL OTHER GROSS PRODUCT 1934 C l£f£l^&^)(^£4 lach S V mbci ^present* $500,000,000 1938 0( 1941 OC 'WwwwwwWwWWwwl INCOME i»k««*> O CONSTRUCTION • ALL GAINFULLY OCCUPIED 1934 )0000 ••••« 1938 DOOOOO IfcUfc^JB^i Eoch Symbol Repres«nto WWWWW^ $200-0* I94COOOOOO ••••••< JOBS ON THE SITE 2 Within the construction industry there are rigid lines drawn between groups performing different opera- tions. The two major groups of on-the-site workers are those in what is known as BUILDING CONSTRUC- TION who enclose space and provide shelter; and those in ENGINEERING CONSTRUCTION who JHSLSKSiS assemble other kinds ot structures, such as bridges, roads, harbours, pipelines, cables, railways, and so on. Beside these major groups, there are some building workers engaged permanently or for short periods to do minor alterations and maintenance work. Who are the Building Tradesmen? We shall begin with the tradesmen most frequently employed on-site in the building of houses. They are of seven classes: Carpenters, Joiners and Cabinet-makers; DIVISION OF Brick-layers and Stone Masons; Plumbers and Steam- LABOUR fitters; Electricians and Wiremen; Sheet metal workers; Plasterers; and Painters and Decorators. These are the men to be found wherever buildings of any of the usual kinds are going up, We shall not stop to describe their skills, pay or conditions of work. Those subjects can better be discussed with the Legion's booklet on the Building Trades in front of you. There are a number of other specialists on many larger jobs, who should be mentioned. The men who are skilled in the making of concrete forms; in the placing of reinforcing steel and pouring of concrete; the erection of steel columns, girders and beams; in laying roofing; in the setting of tile; craftsmen with SPECIAL SKILLS architectural glass and metals; and such new-comers as the installers of air-conditioning systems are among these specialists. All these tradesmen are assisted in their work by apprentices, unskilled and semi-skilled fetch-and-carry men. MACHINE HELPS MAN Skills in Engineering Construction For the layman, the most dramatic kind of con- struction is the large project where derricks, steam shovels, bull-dozers, concrete conveyors and the rest of the industry's heavy artillery go into action. These superhuman power tools burrow in city streets, span wide ravines, or push tons of steel and concrete aloft with unbelievable power and precision. In engineering construction a revolution has taken place in recent decades. A hundred years ago, the con- struction of a railway, a road, a canal or a dam called for a huge army of almost unskilled (and very low u^pumc^ ^* paid) workers with spade and pick. There are still jobs for many unskilled men in engineering work. But the contractors who specialized in engineering projects have learned to use mechanical power as well. At the present time, some of the highest wages in the construction field are paid to the operators of heavy powered gear. MACHINE OPERATORS Bill l/M, ao&uUfe UbuAe (FEDERAL HOUSING ACT 1935-1943) MATERIALS PLUMBING and HEATING. MASONRY LATH PLASTER and INSULATION PAINT and GLASS . ROOFING ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT . OTHERS l OTHEK5 43.8% 19.5% 15.1% 7.3% _- 5.7% _ 3.7% _ 3.4% _ 1.5% LABOUR 37.0% 13.2% 9.1% 7.3% 4.8% 3.2% 2.9% SEMI-SKILLED and UNSKILLED WORKERS 22.5% 100.0% CARPENTERS , _ PLUMBERS * PLASTERERS and TILE LAYERS MASONS and BRICK LAYERS PAINTERS and GLAZIERS ROOFERS and SHEET METAL WORKERS ELECTRICIANS . Published for use as discussion material in the Canadian Armed Forces. Distributed to civilian groups through the Canadian Council of Education for Citizenship. May be reprinted for similar purposes, with or without acknowledgment. 8 JOBS OFF THE SITE 3 Where else does the Building Dollar go? Estimates for typical buildings show that to keep ten men busy on the site, there may be twenty men engaged in the fabrication and transport of building supplies. Some types of building operation require more preparatory work away from the site than others. In asphalt paving the greater part of the labour is done on the spot, in spite of the long distance over which the chief material must be brought. A large public build- ing, on the other hand, may involve twice as much effort off the job as on it. Why is more work done Off the Site? There has been a greater use of machines in building construction as well as in engineering work. But rather than bring much more machinery to the building site, the tendency has been (in small projects particularly) to work the materials more nearly to their finished state before delivering them for assembly. The ultimate re- sult of this movement is perhaps the small house made by an aircraft firm in Montreal; the main operations on the site are to unload this house from a trailer, fold on the dotted lines, drop in some bolts and couplings to hold it in shape and bring in water and light. Some of the advantages in building-in-a-factbry are obvious. Not only can more use be made of machine power. Savings in material and transport can also be made. (We'll say more of these later.) The battle against the housing shortage can go on indoors in rain or shine, throughout the day and the year, instead of coming to a halt while highly skilled m^n wait for ground or materials to dry out — or thaw out. Whereas the best craftsman can supervise the work on only a few house sites during the working day, in a shop he can CONSTRUCTION BY MASS METHODS ADVANTAGES OF PREFABRICATE PROSPECTS IN "PREFAB" check on the details of scores of dwellings in eight hours. The man who adapts himself to the ways of machines, can thus work on more jobs in a day — or a year. He can become more productive and get better pay. What chance lor complete Pre- fabrication? Prefabricated buildings erected during the war have for the most part been designed with portability or sim- plicity in mind, rather than the economical and perma- nent accommodation of a family. The encouraging thing about wartime prefabrication is this: if we can learn how to gain other ends, can we not in time learn to make decent, low-cost, permanent dwellings too? The answer of the expert is: "Yes, but it will take a little time and a good deal of initiative." THERE'S ROOM FOR YOUNGER MEN IN CONSTRUCTION "Mix * i* i n nun iiiiiiiii i ii ii i iin i i i in i ii i iiii iiii iiiiiii M ' YOUNG ' ' OLD 10 OvvifWjftiee, No. 18 EWS= September, 1945 48,000 HOUSES GOING UP IN 1945 w HEN the Minister of Re- construction introduced the White Paper on employment and income in the House of Com- mons last April he said that the government estimated that it would be possible to build 50,000 dwell- ing units within the first year after V-E Day. This was the number of houses which the Advisory Com- mittee on Housing and Com- munity Planning had set as the first year's target. In reply to a question in Par- liament, the Secretary of State tabled recently a report on the number of houses completed or under construction during 1945. The report covers the five months before, and the seven months fol- lowing V-E Day. It shows that about 48,000 dwelling units have been completed or will be under construction during that period. Private Builders to Undertake Most At the end of September licenses had been issued to private builders for the construction of nearly 40,000 houses. In addition a num- ber of housing units have been built during 1945 under licenses issued last year. Houses Built with Government Aid The National Housing Adminis- tration estimate that loans will be provided for about 4,500 dwellings by the end of 1945. The loans are being approved at the rate of about 565 a month. The National Housing Act of 1944 has been in force throughout Canada since January 18 last. The report to Parliament showed that a number of limited dividend housing corporations are being formed and that negotiations be- tween the government and these corporations are underway. Agree- ment has been reached with one such corporation. A limited dividend housing cor- poration undertakes to build and manage dwelling units to be leased at low rentals. It cannot pay its shareholders more than 5% on their money. It must pay back, over a period of not more than fifty years, the government's loan for the project at 3% interest. The Housing Act provides that these projects will be occupied only by low income families — those whose monthly incomes are less than 5% of the construction cost of the accommodation they (Continued an page 4) KNOW YOUR REHAB RIGHTS: fKEE MEDICAL TREATMENT • CLOTHING ALLOWANCES • REHABILITATION GRANT • REINSTATEMENT IN JOBS IE-ESTABLISHMENT CREDIT • A HOME OUTSIDE TOWN • FARMING OPPORTUNITIES • VOCATIONAL TRAINING UNIVERSITY TRAINING • MAINTENANCE GRANTS How do they work? How do they affect YOUR future ? They are all part of Canada's Rehabilitation Program, designed to help you on the road ahead. Keep informed. Semi in your question* to Editor, Civvy Street News, Wartime Information Board, Ottawa* Extra copies of Civvy Street News are available on request. Contents may be reprinted with or without acknowledgment. AN EXTRA PIECE FOR STUDENT HUBBIES A supplementary grant of $5 a week to married veterans compelled to leave their homes to continue their education at a university was announced by Veterans Minister Mackenzie. This grant has been in effect some time for veterans taking vocational training. The grant may also be paid to single veterans maintaining a home or othex" dependents for whom a dependent's allowance is being paid by the department. DOES A VETERAN MAKE A GOOD M.P.? The voice of the veteran Is being heard on Parliament Hill. Wing Commander Bene- dickson of Kenora-Rainy River moved the address in reply to the Speech- from the Throne. He pointed out that Canada had become a great nation since 1939, winning an international position far beyond the stature of a northern adjunct of the United States or a westward dependency of Great Britain. Canadians are a neighbourly people, he believed, and they are quite willing that Canada should give all she can as a free nation to help other Allied nations devastated by the war. The seconder was Lieutenant Langlois, RCNVR, of Gaspe, who launched his maiden speech in bilingual, sea-going style. He urged the building of a Canadian fleet of modern, ocean-going cargo ships to aid in expanded post-war trade. The war bonus to merchant seamen was well merited, he contended. He supported the adoption of a national anthem and flag, and a uniform history book that would be impartial and complete. There is a vigorous block of veterans in the House of Commons and they should do ^great service in bringing veterans' problems to the attention of the government. V.L.A. IN QUEBEC 20,000 to 25,000 veterans are expected to be rehabilitated under the Veterans' Land Act in the Province of Quebec. Land has already been secured to build 1,500 houses next year. SMALL HOLDINGS CAN NOW BE SMALLER The Department of Veterans Affairs is now allowing small holdings of only half an acre instead of the former minimum of one acre. CALLING PRO HOCKEY PLAYERS The Director of National Selective Service has announced that there will be no restric- tions on Canadians wishing to play professional hockey with teams in the United States. Industrial Selection and Release Committees have been instructed to approve applications for the speedy release from the Armed Forces at present posted in Canada or all pro pucksters who apply for release to play pro hockey in Canada or the United States. Those wishing to play hockey in the States will be able to secure Labour Exit Permits promptly from the local office of the National Employment Service. HAVE YOU READ? Publications of Rehabilitation Information Committee (Canadian lofo*awtioo Service): "Thb Common-Sense of Rb-Estabtishmknt^ '■"'•*.. "AHomeonCiwySt." "Your Own Business on Civvy St." "Vocational Training on Civvy St.** "A Farm on R.R. No. 1" "Thb Machinery of Re-bstabijshmknV Booklets by Department of Labour: "Dismiss — But What of a Job?" "Vocational Training for Ex-servicb P&aaoK*»" Pamphlets by Department of Veterans Affairs; "Back to Civil Live" "Thb Veterans' Land Act, 1942'* "What's Ahead?" (The Veterans Insurance Act) . Postwar Planning Information Series (Canadian Information Service): "Rehabilitation of Service Men and Womhn" "Social Security" ; , "Reconstruction Planning" * , ; "Housing and Community Planning" "National Housing Act" "Agricultural Reconstruction" "Economic Policy for Full Employment — A Summary Vihw" "Dominion-Provincial Conference on Rbconstruction, 1943" "International Monetary Agreements" WOMEN USE CREDITS FOR FURNITURE The overwhelming majority of discharged Canadian Service Women are uAng their re- establishment credits to buy furniture and household equipment. Up to the end of August, 950 women drew $95,867 in re-establishment credits. Of that total, $07, or 85%, used their credits totalling $79,670 to furnish homes. Not one had bought a business, but 47 have applied their credits towards working capital in businesses they already owned. VETERAN LAWYERS FOR VETERAN CLIENTS There is nothing to prove that homecoming service personnel get into more difficulties ' * than any other group of Canadians fall heir to. But there are times when we all need expert advice. The legal profession in Canada have been going^ out of their way to see to it that no member of the Armed Forces should lack any help which their mem- bers can give, simply because he hasn't the money to pay for it. The Canadian Bar }• Association has adopted the principle that this legal service should be available to •; •'. .men and women returning to civil life with respect to legal problems that may have " ; • arisen while they were in the Services. More than 1,500 Ontario lawyers are offering their services on this basis and almost 1,000 members of the Quebec Bar — both French-speaking ancf English-speaking — : have also volunteered their services. The Department of Veterans Affairs points out that many members of its regional office staffs are authorized to attest documents or accept affidavits on oath without charge. •■ \Domestic troubles are the most frequent among cases so far dealt with. Next largest classes are debt difficulties and rental and shelter disDutt-s.- need. Detailed regulations under the Act are being; worked out. The number or houses that War- time Housing Limited will com- plete during 1945 must depend, like the rest, on weather condi- tions and labour and material sup- plies. Reconstruction Minister Howe told the House that this Crown company is given priority assistance in buying many kinds of building materials for the erec- tion of low-rental houses for veterans and their families. Wartime Housing has completed 1,250 houses so far this year. These are all occupied. .The com- pany has let contracts for the con- struction of over 4,200 additional houses which are under construc- tion. Further projects are being planned. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that about 750 new houses will be built under the Veterans' Land Act by the end of this year. An additional 2,000 are under construction. Housing Research The House of Commons was told that arrangements are being made for a program of housing research to be carried on jointly by various government depart- ments and agencies. It was in- dicated that grants to outside or- ganizations — universities, pro- vincial laboratories and other bodies — will be considered. The National Housing Act authorizes the Housing Administration to share the big job of housing re- search with other interested groups and particularly to assist the building supplies industry in working out better and less ex- pensive products. INSURANCE INTERESTS FORM NEW HOUSING COMPANY It has recently been announced that the life insurance companies, who are authorized under the Housing Act to undertake certain types of large-scale housing pro- jects, have formed a special com- pany for the purpose, to be known as Housing Enterprises of Canada, Limited. Brigadier D. H. Storms has been appointed General Man- ager of this -company. (He will be remembered by the 21st Army Group for his work on PBS — pre- fabricated bituminous surfacing.) Arrangements are nearing com- pletion whereby the new company will build and. manage low and moderate rental housing projects in several cities. The projects will offer preference to veterans as tenants. Through this company the life insurance interests put up one- tenth of the cash cost of construe-' tion, the other nine-tenths being borrowed by the company through its local branches from the Do- minion of Canada. Listen to JOHNNY HOME broadcast from Canada over the CBC Inter- national Service every Sunday and Wednesday at 13.30 to 14.00 GMT on station CHTA— 15.22 megacycles or 19.71 metres* TRAINING THE FORCE 4 HOW MUCH SKILL REQUIRED Usually there are more skilled than unskilled men at work on a new building; the proportion has been estimated on war jobs as about three skilled workers to every two unskilled. In the past, we in Canada have relied heavily on craftsmen from abroad for our construction force. Since 1930, though, there has been little immigration from Europe. The result is an acute shortage of capable men in many building crafts. To overcome this shortage, several of the provinces have set up apprenticeship schemes. Unfortunately, the PROVINCIAL earlier apprenticeship acts came at a time when there I??I!1 W ^ was not enough building going on to keep even the skilled workers fully employed. The war diverted many eligible men into the forces or into munitions work. In construction one must remain an apprentice for three to five years. In factories shorter periods of training were rewarded with better wages. What are the Prospects? The place to discuss personal chances in this or any other kind of occupation is the Personnel Counsellor's CHANCES FOR room. But some general questions concerning jobs in WUTH the construction industry may arise. Are there many young persons already started in the trades, making advancement harder? Generally it may be said that skilled construction craftsmen are older on the average than skilled industrial workers of other kinds. Where is the work likely to be found? Construction is a very mobile business, and the better the workman, the more likely he is to be offered a job far from home. LOCATION OF Because building contracts are commonly based on mnyJ™^^ competitive pricing, contractors, engineers and archi- tects tend to congregate in the larger cities. The major, ity of them are located in Ontario and Quebec. 11 5 CONSTRUCTION ORGANIZATION EMPLOYEES' ORGANIZATIONS MANAGEMENT'S ORGANIZATIONS TRADE MAGAZINES How about Unions? Construction workers are more often organized by crafts than they are by industries. That is to say, all the plasterers in a given city generally belong to the local plasterers' organization, the bricklayers belong to their own union, and so on, regardless of where or by whom they are employed. Building unions in Canada in 1943 had about 60,000 members or nearly one-tenth the strength of all organized labour in the country. Of each ten on-site workers, five belong to unions; probably three of the five are in Trades 8C Labour Congress of Canada locals, per- haps one is a Canadian Congress of Labour member, one belongs to an independent union. In the Province of Quebec, most of the union building tradesmen are members of the Canadian and Catholic Confederation of Labour. How do the Employers Organize? There are probably about as many contracting firms in Canada as there are doctors. Because a builder's property consists so largely of movable machinery, it is fairly easy to establish or to wind up a contracting firm. The number of firms, therefore, varies, even though some of the larger and older firms are as stable as any business. A construction company is really organized around experience and specialized administrative ability. The chief means for spreading knowledge of better methods throughout the industry is by professional and trade associations, and by magazines. The architects and engineers have institutes publish- ing excellent journals, which describe improved building methods and materials. There are also several maga- 12 zines published for contractors and materials suppliers, and a few magazines dealing with middle and upper class houses and gardens, for the general reader. There are some thirty national associations for builders, and an equal number of regional and pro- vincial organizations. Alongside such industries as tex- tiles, chemicals or pulp and paper, the construction groups appear to be loosely knit; probably not more than a third of all the general or specialized contractors in the country belong to any contractors' association. The largest group is the Canadian Construction Association, to which belongs about one contracting or builders' supply firm in every ten. It is said, however, that the members of the CCA. do over half the con- tract work of the country. The Association has been active in voicing the industry's opinions before govern- mental, business and other assemblies. All the other contractors' groups are very much smaller. They aver- age fewer than fifty members each. About a dozen years ago the National Construction Council was formed, for the exchange of views from every quarter concerned with building. The Council has been instrumental, in co-operation with the Federal Government, in preparing model by-laws regarding building for the guidance of municipal councils. Could Construction be Streamlined? Clean, new housing at rates we could afford has long been a mirage to nearly half our population. Many solutions have been suggested, and most of them have been tried, here or abroad: lower interest on loans for building, rental subsidies, elimination of taxes on some housing, and outright public ownership (and operation at an apparent loss) of some housing. This is not the place to discuss these schemes. But not one of them can be wholly effective if there has been waste of material and effort in the erection of the buildings themselves. We have already said something about saving crafts- men's time. The industry in co-operation with publicly supported programs of experiment might find many other ways to provide better shelter at lower cost. 13 SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS LUMBER STRETCHING STANDARDIZE AND SIMPLIFY GRADE MATERIALS What about Cheaper Materials? As can be seen from the chart on page 8, the most important single material in modern small houses is lumber. Thrift in lumber will cut the cost of our hous- ing construction; it will make it possible for us to send to Britain and Europe the enormous quantities we have promised. This thrift may be accomplished in two ways: 1. By avoiding waste through careful planning of the operations in the woodworking shop. A scrap from the stair assembly of one house may be used in the rough framing of another, and so on. 2. By organizing lumber production to eliminate guesswork. Large scale builders may find it possible to buy in such large quantities that the word on exactly what sizes and species are needed will be passed to everyone in the game right back to the lumberjack. What other Methods Promise Savings? Other drives to reduce the cost of houses are often suggested. They would decrease the amount of work necessary both off the site and on it. They are stand- ardization and simplification* There is much to be said for the idea that we could all enter our homes by doors of the same width (though not necessarily of the same appearance) , pass under ceilings of the same height, and bathe in tubs of the same length. As houses have been built in the past, all these dimensions have varied by fractions of an inch— ~ making each house a separate problem in design, fabri- cation, delivery and fitting. By that method it is im- possible to avoid waste of material and labour. There are less obvious ways to standardize, too— as in the grading of materials by a sort of Pulhem's profile of stamina, composition and appearance. There are numerous surface materials available now which might be more widely used if anyone knew positively and scientifically how to use them and what lasting qualities to expect from them. The reconversion of our war plants will doubtless produce additional structural goods; we shall need publicly endorsed standards by which to assess them* 14 CANADIAN ENGINEERING STANDARDS ASSOCIATION SCIENTIST AND DESIGNER The working out of standards for building materials might be entrusted to the Canadian Engineering Stand- ards Association, a body which has already prepared a great many yardsticks for the electrical and mechan- ical engineering fields. Over the next few years, govern- ments, research bodies, construction and industrial groups together can do much to ensure that we shall know how much house we are getting for our money — - and that in the low rental field we shall get more and better shelter for a dollar than we have ever got before. On the simplification front, the suppliers of building materials can begin tomorrow. For instance, a good simple, inexpensive line of house hardware is needed. Here again the scientist, the industrial designer and the housewife might put their heads together. Another Kind of Organizing One of the most outstanding lessons of this war has been the importance of large-scale, long-view plan- ning in everything we do. To this rule the building in- dustry is no exception. The building of hundreds of thousands of Canadian houses in the next ten years will ALL-OVER require not only the planning of kitchens and clothes cupboards but of towns and cities as well. Our survey- ors, architects, engineers, draughtsmen have large con- tributions to make — if we offer them a decent living in exchange. PLANNERS WHO BUILDS AND WHEN? 1929 1933 1939 1941 PRIVATE CONSTRUCTION am 3232,3 PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION Each Unit- $100,000,000 15 CONSTRUCTION AND OUR JOBS 6 We have said something so far about the size of the Construction Force, the kinds of work on and off the site, the training required to become a construction craftsman, and the organization of the workers and the employers in the industry. We have also outlined some of the technical problems with which the industry is faced in its efforts to offer the common man something more in keeping with his needs and his income. These are questions for which those in the building business, those intending to enter it, and those who will be its future customers must thrash out the answers. CHALLENGE TO CANADIANS DEPENDENT INDUSTRIES PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION How does Construction affect us All? It is not quite true to say that construction itself stimulates the equipment and appliance industries. It is true to say that the conditions favourable for building are also favourable for a great many other businesses. That is why those whose job it will be to check the course of Canadian economy in the post-war years will keep a steady watch on the builders. When the com- munity wants more buildings, it soon wants more of many other things, like refrigerators, rugs or rubber stamps. When we slow our buying of buildings, we soon slow our buying all around. This link between building activity and general prosperity naturally leads to the idea that public authorities, when they see prosperity waning, should increase their expenditures on construction projects. When unemployment threatens, runs the argument, the proper counterattack is to compensate with a stream of public works held in reserve for just that purpose. Thus it is important that public authorities buy building wisely; their buying may make or mar a full employ- ment program. (See chart on page 15.) 16 Can Public Works turn the Tide? From American experience several lessons can be drawn. First the *shelf' of public projects must be ready at hand, or else the depression gets a first class head start. Second, the federal government must enlist the co-operation of local governments in its counter-effort. The cities and states cut their building budgets during the thirties faster than Uncle Sam could increase his. (The vital importance of Dominion-Provincial agree- ments on works programs is beginning to be appre- ciated.) Third, it is fair to say that even in spite of these shortcomings, the effects of the depression in the United States were not so serious as they might have been had a federal works program not been undertaken. There are limits, however, to the size of the gap on the unemployment front which can be filled by works projects. We cannot expect to get an efficient construc- tion industry if its ranks are constantly swelling and shrinking. Many men in the building game believe that the first job of the industry is to provide structures — housing, work-places, schools, hospitals, roads, irriga- tion and the rest — in the most efficient way possible. This the industry cannot do, they say, if it is at the same time to compensate for the shortcomings of the rest of the economic world. An industry that is feeling its way towards factory assembly methods is no place to put workers on a temporary basis. Not Postponing — but Doing More There is another objection to the idea that construc- tion projects can be timed to take up the slack in other kinds of employment. What kinds of works can be de- ferred until slack time? Not houses, for we need them urgently; not schools nor recreation centres, nor health facilities nor factories, nor communications, nor utilities nor electric power installations. As long as we have full employment, we shall have to go ahead with all these things. There are some types of project that may be postponed for a time, such as reforestation, large-scale waterways development, improvement of tourist facili- IF HARD TIMES COME LIMITATIONS URGENT PUBLIC WORKS WHAT TO POSTPONE 17 TO KEEP BUSY LATER ON... WE MUST EX- PERIMENT NOW CHANCES FOR STEADY JOBS EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS ties and other works which can come into use only gradually in any case* The questions are: How much is postponable? Is it likely to be of a kind and in a locality suitable to take up much employment slack? On the other hand* many kinds of construction have always been *deferred\ For example, low-rental hous- ing; community facilities for health, fitness and cul- tural activities; and those major jobs of surgery which so many of our cities require* In the past, these things have never been adequately done. Why not plan to get them done as soon as the demand for building men and materials begins to relax? If we are to do these things efficiently on a large scale later, we should acquire by small, "Pathfinder" projects the necessary know-how right away. The National Housing Act provides for research, surveys, and the distribution of information of this kind. This part of the Act can profitably be put into practice immediately* Timing of Public Works is Everyman's affair Perhaps construction is a more adjustable activity than we think* During the war we have been amazed at the ability of the railways, for example, to do twice their normal work with a minimum of expansion, by means of feats of administrative and employee effort. The maintenance of stable employment may involve similar feats in the national interest in peacetime* The goal is certainly worth everybody's efforts* To the construction worker this goal is particularly attractive because before the war no type of occupation was less secure than his* Also, because his periods of unemployment in the past helped cause the present housing shortages in Canada, the problem concerns us all. It is in the interest of all Canadians to keep an eye on construction. 18 SCAFFOLDING FOR A DISCUSSION Problems of the construction industry are pretty far removed from the average man on active service. Building, under battle conditions, whether it is the digging of a slit trench or the bridging of a river, is done by the most direct methods and according to the needs of the moment. Only when he re- turns home to Canada will the service man find that construction for civilian use is a much more complicated business. There are questions of land values and ownership to be considered, questions of suitable returns on invested capital, questions of supply and demand. The following questions suggest a plan for group discussion on this sub- ject in your unit: 1. More Stress on Efficiency? Have building methods improved as rapidly as those employed in other industries, textiles for example? (See 'Let's Look at Textiles', Reconstruction Supplement No. 1.) How do you think builders might use more machinery to advantage? Is the use of machines an advantage or a disadvantage to the man working in the building trades? This brings forward the possibilities of prefabrication. Since this method of production would tend to centralize much construction work in factories, how would it affect the lives of construction workers and their families? Would it be an improvement or otherwise? Supposing that mass production of pre- fabricated houses brings their cost down within reach of average Canadian workers, how would it affect their living conditions? What part of the popula- tion would a prefabricated house best serve? What part would it not serve? Whose incomes would suffer from general lowering of rents on new houses? If there are former construction workers in your unit, what are their bright ideas for providing more shelter for less cost? With whom did they discuss suggestions of this kind in their former jobs? 2. An Eye on Organization Large-scale units of operation are more and more common in business. Do you think that the predominance of small units in the Canadian building and builders' supply trades has anything to do with their technical backwardness? How many ways can you see of reducing the cost of the average house: (a) On the site? (b) Off the site? Aids in Studying this Booklet Building Trades. Canadian Legion's LETS CONSIDER JOBS Series, Number 4-(8). A Place to LIVE. Canadian Affairs, April 15, 1945. Where does Labour fit in? Canadian Affairs, Feb. 1, 1945. Look to the North. A National Film Board production showing many engineering operations. 19 Let's look at Textiles again If you intend (as we hope you do) to keep these Supplements as stand-by ammunition for future discussions of Canadian industry, you should make the following corrections in your copy of Reconstruction Supplement Number 1: (a) Page 5, line 11: $150,000,000 (not #15,000,000). (b) Page 6, line 10: silk production figures are in pounds (not yards). (c) Page 6, lines 12, 13 and 14: the figures for 1935 are averages per establish- ment, not production and payroll of the whole silk industry. As there were then 31 natural silk yarn establish- ments and 2 artificial silk firms, the gross production values for 1935 were: Natural silk . . • • #14,448,000. Artificial silk • • . . 13,597,000. Total #28,045,000. The total employees in yarn making were: Natural silk 5770 Artificial silk 4338 "CANADIAN AFFAIRS Reconstruction Supplements are intended for those in the Services who want to discuss realistically the Canada in which they will work after the war. The Supplements are prepared by the Wartime Informa- tion Board and will appear fortnighdy, alternating with the regular Issue of CANADIAN AFFAIRS. DESIGNED BY THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD ♦OTTAWA: EDM0ND CL0UTIER, PRINTER TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY PRINTED IN CANADA, 1945.